Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend

Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend rum review by the fat rum pirateMount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend. Until pretty recent times Mount Gay were a bit of a one trick pony. They have and likely always will make their money selling truckloads of their “entry level” Eclipse rums. In particular the “Gold” variant of Eclipse as the “White” or “Silver” can be quite tricky to find here in the UK. By tricky I mean pretty much impossible. I have only ever seen it for sale once in the EU and I bought (a rather overpriced) bottle as soon as I saw it.

Other than the Eclipse rums Mount Gay are also famous for their Extra Old rum or MGXO (Mount Gay Extra Old) as it is often referrred to, or just simply as XO. Straddling the line between these two rums between “entry level” and “sipping rum” they have had a “Black” variant of Mount Gay. A rum aged in more charred barrels. This started with a 100 Proof (50% ABV) Eclipse Black, which was phased out in favour of a new “rum” Mount Gay Black Barrel around 2013. It hit the UK in 2014 if I recall correctly.

This “Black Barrel” rum was reduced down to 43% ABV and like the Gold Eclipse became a bit of staple in UK supermarkets. This also saw Mount Gay XO gain some shelf space as well. Giving further exposure to authentic Barbados Rum, alongside the usual Navy, Spiced and flavoured nonsense that makes up 90% of Supermarket “rum”.

In 2019 long time Master Blender Allen Smith left Mount Gay and was succeeded by Trudiann Branker, who has wasted no time in stamping her own mark on two of Mount Gay’s core expressions. Whilst the Eclipse rum remains unchanged both the Black Barrel and Extra Old expressions have been altered. Whether this is a positive step for the Black Barrel blend we will discover later. For now I will concentrate on what is going into the bottle in 2020.

First up the liquid has is slightly older. Previously Mount Gay Black Barrel was aged between 2 and 7 years. Now we have rum that has been aged between 3 and 7 years. In addition to this Trudiann, has also introduced a higher proportion of Pot Still rum into the blend.

However, the most noticeable change to the blend (and this is reflected in the colour of the rum) is that the ageing process has changed. Rather than all the rum being aged in deeply charred ex-bourbon barrels it is now a blend. We have a proportion of the rum which has been aged entirely in heavily charred ex-Bourbon barrels. Then blended with rum which has been aged solely in ex-American Whiskey barrels. Please note this is the distinction Mount Gay are using on the label.Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend rum review by the fat rum pirate

The other big change has been the price increase. In the rum world new packaging and/or re-blended lines often means a price increase. However, it is worth pointing out the original Black Barrel has stood at a price point of around £30 since it’s introduction to the UK market back in 2014. So a price increase after 6 years was perhaps inevitable.

If people wish to make comments about how disgraceful this is please feel free. I’ll delete them same as I have on other reviews…….you’re very boring.

So let’s move on and see how the new juice is.

The most immediate difference between this and the old style Black Barrel is the colour of the rum. This is clearly a shade or two lighter. No doubt that is due to only a portion of this blend being aged in “Black Barrels” eg Heavily Charred ex-bourbon barrels.

This change in the colour is also reflected on the nose. It’s much lighter, more balanced overall and ultimately a lot softer. It smells older and more more mature with less of the aggression and “beefier” notes we had before.

In  many ways it it has more in common with with MGXO than ever before. It’s a softer, more balanced blend of rums. Whether it is the extra Pot Still element or the less charred overall profile it has more balance than before. It has a bit more complexity.

There is a good weight of char and smoke but it is balanced by some really soft toffee/caramel notes and quite bit hit of vanilla ice cream. It’s a lovely nose in all honesty and suggests a rum much older than it’s 3-7 year blend might suggest.

As a sipper it works far better than the previous iteration of Black Barrel. It has a much more forgiving character and is better balanced it terms of the smoke and char. The initial entry is soft and very agreeable. Icing sugar, banana, pineapple, green apple and some gooseberry. It’s light and fruity initially but the mid palate reveals a very nice development of spice and char. It is dry and slightly bourbon esque but it keeps a lot of rum character.

Had this been released under another name it probably wouldn’t have got the stick it Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend rum review by the fat rum piratehas got in various online rum forums. Rum Fans are always ultra suspicious of re-brandings and price increases. Mount Gay probably could have avoided some of the fall out if they had called this something different Mount Gay VSOP or something.

If you approach this rum as something “new” rather than a “better” version of Black Barrel you will probably realise just what a really nicely balanced and tasty rum this is. If you are a huge fan of the original Black Barrel this may dissapoint as I think this is very different.

Finish wise Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend delivers a nice spicy, very Barbadian easy-going but pretty complex array of barrel char, vanilla and light soft fruity notes. It lingers nicely on the palate and has a really nice length and character to it.

This is a much more sippable effort than the previous version of Black Barrel. Much lighter overall in terms of profile. It’s a better rum for mel but if you are a huge fan of the old style Black Barrel, you might want to stock up while it’s still available. This is a lot different.

There is no change in score as I think both rums are very solid 8/10 efforts. If I was after a Rum and Coke I would go old style Black Barrel. Sip wise I’d opt for this.

Well worth £37.

 

 

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One comment on “Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend

  1. I definitely prefer the original in a rum & coke, but no big deal, I still enjoy this one.

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